After spending nearly eight months in York County Prison for a crime he claims he didn't commit, a 17-year-old from Maryland was ordered released on his own recognizance Wednesday.
Mason Michael Carter, charged in the shooting of a Fawn Grove man during a home-invasion robbery last October, has been in jail since Oct. 26, said his attorney, Korey Leslie.
Carter hadn't had the financial means to post the $500,000 bail set in the case, Leslie said.
In a bail hearing before Common Pleas Judge Craig Trebilcock, chief deputy prosecutor Tim Barker said he recommended Carter be set free based on exculpatory information received by Pennsylvania State Police. After the hearing, he declined to elaborate about the nature of the information.
But Leslie said Maryland State Police called Pennsylvania State Police two days ago and told them they have a suspect in custody who confessed to the Oct. 20 home invasion.
During the incident, William Cooper, 66, was shot while struggling with the robber inside his home in the first block of Park Drive.
Leslie said his client, who has maintained his innocence, is still scheduled for trial in September. But he's confident the new evidence will vindicate him after prosecutors have had a chance to verify the facts.
The charges: Carter, of 103 Holy Cross Road in Street, Md., is charged as an adult with attempted homicide, aggravated assault, robbery, burglary, simple assault, theft and reckless endangerment.
At a preliminary hearing earlier this year, Cooper said he continues to recover from a single wound to his upper right chest. His wife, 64-year-old Connie Cooper, escaped injury.
Connie Cooper said at the preliminary hearing that she was finishing work at 1:30 a.m., typing on the computer in her home office, across the hall from the bedroom where her husband slept.
She heard the doggie door slam, followed by the two family dogs downstairs "prancing," "like they do when they're excited about something," she testified.
Before she could completely rise from her chair to investigate the noise, a gunman stood in the office doorway, startling her.
She called out to her husband, and he and the intruder struggled before Cooper was shot and fell down the stairs, she said.
Connie Cooper locked herself in the office, calling police, but the intruder forced his way inside and demanded her car keys, she said.
He then fled the area in the Coopers' blue Hyundai Elantra, which was recovered that afternoon in Harford County, Md., police said.
Wife identifies: Face-to-face in the courtroom that day, Connie Cooper said she knew the eyes of the defendant, Carter, were the same eyes she saw through the facial holes in the ski mask that night.
"Those are the eyes," she said, then looked at Carter in silence for several seconds.
Carter had participated in a voice-identification lineup to see if she could recognize his voice, but Leslie said the woman was not able to positively identify any of the voices as that of her husband's shooter.
- Reach Christina Kauffman at firstname.lastname@example.org.